Despite the basic tenet that “red means stop,” on July 20th, Governor Tom Wolf signed into law a bill which will modify Pennsylvania’s existing Red Light statute to allow drivers to proceed through a red light that is malfunctioning, which is now defined to include a situation where sensor technology did not sense the vehicle. This new “Ride on Red” law, which will take effect on September 18th, 2016, was urged by motorcyclists, whose vehicles are usually too small to trigger the sensors; however, the law applies to all vehicles. Some aluminum vehicles do not contain enough metals to trigger the sensors to change the light to green. To take advantage of this law, drivers must first come to a complete stop at the red light, follow all other traffic laws, and make sure there is no other traffic traveling through the intersection before they continue through the red light. Some have argued this means that red lights will now have the same effect as stop signs – an argument that misses the “malfunctioning” angle. You cannot legally blow off a red light that properly senses your vehicle. Further, the law does not specifically mention its impact on “No Turn on Red” signs, so they may override the exception in the new law. I see two sides to this coin. As a motorcyclist I know the frustration of sitting at a light for 5 minutes waiting for it to change. However, many red lights are at blind intersections and none of us are looking forward to the carnage of vehicles rocketing out in front of us from blind intersections.
What do you think of this new law? Let us know in the comment section below.